The data set covers all relevant process steps / technologies over the supply chain of the represented cradle to gate inventory with a good overall data quality. It represents an production average based on the year 2011. The inventory is mainly based on latest literature data and is completed, where necessary, by expert judgement.
25 years duration of plantation is assumed. Land use change is considered and mass allocation applied.
Transportation was just considered for the main materials (covers about 90% of the mass of all inputs), other transportation was not considered. The data is based on 1000 kg of product.
Geographical scope of the study has focused on an estimation of the global production mix, based on the two dominant regions of production, Malaysia and Indonesia. These countries were selected as major oil palm producing countries as they produce more than 80% of the global production volume of fresh fruit bunches, palm oil and palm kernel oil. In cases of missing process data for Indonesia, Malaysian data for cultivation and processing was adopted for Indonesia. Major cultivation parameters were available for Malaysian and Indonesian conditions (emissions from land use change, yield of fresh fruit bunches). Background data like energy profiles, diesel, electricity use etc. were adapted to the national boundaries. The global production mix consists of 47% Malaysian and 53% Indonesian products.
Direct Land Use Change (dLUC) effects are considered and were accounted for follow-ing standards: GHG Protocol 2011, ILCD 2010 , ISO 14040 2006 /ISO 14044 2006. Direct LUC, 20 years backwards (since 1990), was considered for above ground biomass, below ground biomass and soil organic matter.
Cultivation on peatland results in emissions due to drainage of the peatland. These emissions are included in the study.
Allocation by mass was applied for palm oil mills [palm oil, palm kernel], palm kernel oil mills [palm kernel oil, palm kernel meal], and palm oil refineries [refined product, palm fatty acid distillate].
Agricultural production was modelled in a comprehensive manner including diesel, fertilizer and pesticide inputs and field emissions. The yield is a major cultivation parameter. Yield was modelled as 18.9 t FFB/[ha and year] for Malaysia and 13.4 t FFB/[ha and year] for Indonesia.
Palm oil mills are mostly powered by incineration of co-products (fibres and shells). Empty fruit bunches are also brought back to the field and used as organic fertilizer. Palm oil mill effluent (POME) is run through open pond treatment (95 %) and digester tanks (5%). Digester tanks are used for capturing methane, which is then incinerated for energy.
Palm kernel oil mill, refinery stage and methyl ester stage: The palm kernel oil mill is located apart from the palm oil mill - so incineration of co-products to provide energy is not assumed at the palm kernel oil mill. Energy needed for the palm kernel oil mill are provided by the Malaysian electrical grid mix. The refinery process is modelled identically for both palm oil and palm kernel oil, based on one single publication.
Electricity: Electricity is modelled according to the individual country-specific situations. The country-specific modelling is achieved on multiple levels. Firstly, individual energy carrier specific power plants and plants for renewable energy sources are modelled according to the current national electricity grid mix. Modelling the electricity consumption mix includes transmission / distribution losses and the own use by energy producers (own consumption of power plants and "other" own consumption e.g. due to pumped storage hydro power etc.), as well as imported electricity. Secondly, the national emission and efficiency standards of the power plants are modelled as well as the share of electricity plants and combined heat and power plants (CHP). Thirdly, the country-specific energy carrier supply (share of imports and / or domestic supply) including the country-specific energy carrier properties (e.g. element and energy content) are accounted for. Fourthly, the exploration, mining/production, processing and transport processes of the energy carrier supply chains are modelled according to the specific situation of each electricity producing country. The different production and processing techniques (emissions and efficiencies) in the different energy producing countries are considered, e.g. different crude oil production technologies or different flaring rates at the oil platforms.
Thermal energy, process steam: The thermal energy and process steam supply is modelled according to the individual country-specific situation with regard to emission standards and considered energy carriers. The thermal energy and process steam are produced at heat plants. Efficiencies for thermal energy production are by definition 100% in relation to the corresponding energy carrier input. For process steam the efficiency ranges from 85%, 90% to 95%. The energy carriers used for the generation of thermal energy and process steam are modelled according to the specific import situation (see electricity above).
Transports: All relevant and known transport processes are included. Ocean-going and inland ship transport as well as rail, truck and pipeline transport of bulk commodities are considered.
Energy carriers: The energy carriers are modelled according to the specific supply situation (see electricity above).
Refinery products: Diesel fuel, gasoline, technical gases, fuel oils, lubricants and residues such as bitumen are modelled with a parameterised country-specific refinery model. The refinery model represents the current national standard in refining techniques (e.g. emission level, internal energy consumption, etc.) as well as the individual country-specific product output spectrum, which can be quite different from country to country. The supply of crude oil is modelled, again, according to the country-specific situation with the respective properties of the resources.